Sin and Suffering

In a lengthy and extremely provocative article, David Garland argues that the Bible consistently equates suffering to sin. He writes that “we moderns, because of our assumptions about illness, tend always to look for the medical aspects of illnesses in the Bible and the supposed treatments that are mentioned.” The reality, however, is more in line with Psalm 107:17: “Some were sick through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction.” God seems particularly interested in bringing illness upon disobedience. On the other hand, in John 5:14, Jesus tells one that he had healed, “Sin no more, that nothing worse happen to you;” and then in John 9:3 he says that “it was not that this man sinned, or his parents.” This would seem to undo Garland’s position. However, Garland adds that “most fail to read on. No one sinned, but, Jesus says, this man was born blind ‘in order that the works of God might be made manifest in him.'” The assumption, Garland concludes, “is that God is somehow in total control of illness.”

Share Button